Depot Street home mystery uncovered

A home that has sat empty for several years is now listed on Christiansburg’s dilapidated and abandoned structures list, despite having a very rich history in the community.

After several phone calls inquiring about the property at 375 Depot St., which appeared in the News Messenger April 1, an interesting picture started to evolve.

The structure has a letter from building officials stapled to its front porch, with the owners listed as having a Richmond address. In addition, a “for sale” sign now appears in the front yard of the 14-room house.

The residence dates back to 1921 when Fannie Mae Campbell bought the land. She and her husband drew up the plans and built it over a two-year period. Documented history shows the couple raised 10 children in the home.

It was used as a hospital from the 20s through the 40s when African American patients would be taken to a local hospital and then transferred to the Campbell House for follow up care.

Over the years, the Campbell house also included a restaurant and dance hall called “Campbell’s Dine and Dance.” A beauty salon and barbershop were also located there. The area in and around the residence became known as “Campbell town.”

The home would suffer heavy fire damage in the early 40s, but Fannie Mae Campbell rebuilt the structure even bigger. She would then start renting rooms to individuals.

The home started falling into disrepair in the 90s, and documents show the town had considered condemning the structure in 2008 but did not.

Town staff has now recommended the owner tear down the home.

In the letter stapled to the front porch, building officials do not consider the structure to be safe enough for someone to live in it.

Christiansburg announced recently that they are taking a proactive, aggressive approach to eliminate dilapidated structures in the town.

Scattered throughout the area are abandoned homes that are falling in ruin. They’re eyesores local leaders hope to remove to make neighborhoods more attractive.

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